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NHIAA Boys' Lacrosse: Auger leads way as Astros prevail

Special to the Union Leader

April 12. 2018 10:42PM

EXETER — The Pinkerton Academy boys’ lacrosse team started slow and picked it up as the game progressed in a 14-8 victory over Exeter in an early-season Division I mini-showdown on Thursday.

The Astros led 1-0 after a quarter and expanded the lead to 7-3 by halftime. Pinkerton was led by four goals and an assist by Ryan Auger. Chad Teresky had a pair of goals and an assist, and Mason Drouin and Chris Valentine each had a pair of goals.

In total, nine Astros reached the score sheet.

“It’s a veteran team,” Pinkerton coach Brian O’Reilly said after the Astros, who improved to 2-0. “That whole attack unit has been together for at least a year now. We’re used to that.”

The Astros offense flowed by running its half-field sets fluidly as the game wore on, but Pinkerton was at its best in the second quarter. Of the Astros’ seven shots in the period, six found the back of the cage.

Pinkerton’s offense was aided by a 27-13 advantage in ground balls and an 18-8 advantage at the faceoff X.

“Ground balls are (like) rebounds in basketball,” O’Reilly said. “It’s not talent. If you want that ball you’re going to get that ball.”

Pinkerton never trailed, but it wasn’t for Exeter’s lack of trying. The Blue Hawks (1-1) worked the ball around well but had few answers for Pinkerton goalie Alex Sturgess, who turned aside a dozen Exeter shots. Sturgess’ veteran presence in cage helped backbone a young, developing defensive unit in front of him.

“Every time they shoot, I feel like Alex is going to save it,” Auger said of Sturgess. “He’s definitely our anchor back there.”

The Blue Hawks were led by three goals from Canisius College-bound attackman Mike Penna but could not consistently generate offense.

O’Reilly said that there was no specific plan to defend Penna, only for his defenders to play as hard as possible.

Pinkerton’s one bugaboo was turnovers. The Astros were minus-5 in that category with 17 turnovers, including a handful of unforced errors.

“You clean up ball possession by getting better and better,” O’Reilly said. “We didn’t clear the ball well at all, and we threw the ball away a couple of times. That’s just practice time. We hadn’t been on a field until last week. That’ll eventually come.”

Both teams return to the field Monday with Exeter hosting Manchester Central and Pinkerton traveling to Salem. The teams will play again in Derry on May 25.

NHIAA Derry Exeter